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Sunday, 23 January 2011
Fruit Leather - So Easy a Caveman...err...I mean...a Kid Can Do It!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Family

And now, the answer to last night's question. What do you get when you add applesauce, unsweetened koolaid and sugar? Fruit Leather! Well, you have to dehydrate it first. Here's the deal.

My friend, Brenda, left a comment after yesterday's post saying she knew the answer and, since she was the one who gave me the recipe, then I'm pretty sure she's correct. So, here's the official Brenda Emmett fruit leather recipe:

  • 32 oz of applesauce
  • one packet of unsweetened koolaid mix
  • one quarter of a cup of sugar (adjust to your taste)

Mix all ingredients together and pour onto dehydrator trays covered with plastic wrap. We were out of plastic wrap so I cut up a couple of gallon freezer bags and placed them on my trays and they worked perfectly. You can set your dehydrator at any temperature, but if you put it on high keep an eye on it. I put ours on low and leave it running all night long. In the morning we have delicious fruit leather. It's really so easy that our 10 year old, Joshua, could almost do it by himself. Here's proof!

Pour 32oz of applesauce in a bowl!


Pour in one packet of unsweetened Koolaid ~ this time we chose lemon lime.


Pour in about one quarter cup of sugar ~ a little more or a little less depending on your taste.


Mix well.


Pour onto dehydrator trays covered with plastic wrap,  spread evenly and dehydrate.


Here's Joshua with some grape fruit leather that we fixed a couple of days ago. We have also fixed orange. We'll make a batch and store it in plastic sandwich bags to be munched on for a healthy snack.


There you have it. Our fruit leather recipe. Thanks Brenda! If you don't have a dehydrator, you can put it on a cookie sheet, place it in your oven on low with the door cracked open a bit. Try it! I'll bet you'll like it!





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Posted by tink38570 at 9:26 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 24 January 2011 9:13 AM CST
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Saturday, 22 January 2011
Daily Quiz!
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: General








Find Out Tomorrow!




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Posted by tink38570 at 10:39 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:02 PM CST
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Friday, 21 January 2011
Speekee TV - Si! Me Gusta!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

Speekee logo 

I'm not going to waste any time with this one. No opening chit chat. I'm getting straight to the point:

We Love Speekee!

I can't say enough about this Spanish program for kids. I had been looking for a long time for a language program for Joshua. He's watched as his older brother has studied Latin and is now, although not very consistently, learning Spanish. He's even picked up on a few things as he sat and listened. When we first got Speekee I knew that this was right up Joshua's alley.

Speekee is a ten part TV type series done completely in Spanish with authentic Spanish children in real Spanish locations. There are also puppets and Jim, the host, that interact with the children as well. In each episode, the children go to a different location. In episode one, they go to the park where they learn traditional greetings, numbers one through five, three colors and are introduced to the names of some of the playground equipment. The puppets then reinforce what has been learned. Subtitles are available if you would like them, or you can use this as a "total immersion" type program.


It's a lot like Sesame Street but at a little slower pace and with not as many things trying to be introduced. This is not the time and place for a discussion on Sesame Street, but I always thought that it tried to do too many things and jumped around a little too much. Speekee has limited things that they introduce in each 10-20 min. episode, and are reinforced throughout the episode.

There are certain things that you see in each show. There is always the introduction, a trip to someplace, a time of reinforcement, and a segment with Lupe and Dino a pair of very cute sock puppets. Each segment is introduced by a very catchy song. You can frequently find Joshua and I singing to ourselves (and even to each other).  The "Donde Vamos" - "Where are we going?", "Hablo espanol" - "I speak Spanish" and the "Adios" - "Goodbye" songs have become regular tunes in our home.


Each video also builds on the previous episode. Speekee uses the "spiral approach" where they are constantly reviewing things.

Also included are downloadable fun worksheets that adds to what has been learned that day. There are several for each episode that are to be done following watching that day's video. It has no set time schedule. You can watch each video as much or as little as you want. We usually watch Speekee three or four times a week and do a worksheet or two afterwords. Joshua spends not more than 30 min. each day and loves it. It is amazing how much he is picking up!

Now that I've told you about Speekee, here's a clip from episode four - "El zoo". The subtitles are turned off in this clip, but remember, you can turn them on and off at will.


The exciting songs, characters and children; "just right" pace; constant reinforcing; spiral approach; and great worksheets all make this a fantastic Spanish learning tool for an asperger's syndrome child like our Joshua or for any elementary (even pre-school) child. Although he thinks he's too old for this, John Allen even sneaks a peak now and then. I can't tell you enough how much we like this program.

As a homeschool product reviewer on the TOS Homeschool Crew, I am often assigned online subscription items to review. Most of the time we are given a limited two or three month period that we can access the program and, most of the time, that is it for our family. Speekee is one program that we are going to continue on with for a few months until we complete the entire 10 episodes.

Speekee is a British company that is just branching out into the US market. They sell DVD sets of the 10 episodes, but, because DVD's use a different format in Europe than in the United States, it is recommended that you subscribe to their online program. Each month is only $7.50 a month, but you can keep it as long as you want and end it when you want. There is no set period that you have to subscribe for. They even have a two week trial period that you access to take a look at the program before committing for a month. If you are interested in their DVD sets, you may contact them to ask more questions. To get to the Speekee website, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. As usual, many other TOS Homeschool Crew members reviewed this product and you can find out what they had to say by clicking here.

One small thing before I close. Speekee teaches European Spanish that you would speak in Spain and not Latin American Spanish. The differences are minor, however. It's kind of like the English spoken in Britain and the English spoken in the United States. There are slight differences but nothing major. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a limited subscription to Speekee's online Spanish program to use and review on this blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:17 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 22 January 2011 3:31 PM CST
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Thursday, 20 January 2011
Maestro Classics - I've Got A Secret...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


Really I think that this secret has already been revealed. I think you all know that I was a music major for a while in college and that I play a number of different instruments - none of them very well anymore.

Well, being such a lover of music myself, I'm always looking for ways to instill that love in my children. Last year we were chosen to review Maestro Classics' The Tortoise and the Hare for the TOS Homeschool Crew. Maestro Classics is a great company that was started by conductor Stephen Simon and his wife Bonnie Ward Simon. The Tortoise and the Hare was my children's first exposure to classical music and they really learned a lot.

This year, I was very excited that we were chosen to once again review an item from Maestro Classics. This time it was one of my favorites, Peter and the Wolf. And, what a difference a year makes. Last year, although the kids learned a lot, they didn't quite know what to think about this new type of music. This year they were ready and loved it. I was really surprised at how much they got into it.


Maestro Classics is a great company. Every "story in music" that they put together is exciting and very well done. Peter and the Wolf began with an introduction that explained what to listen for in the story. It hi-lighted the different characters and the musical representation of each character.

Then it launched right in to the story, narrated by Yadu with the music being played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It was so much fun hearing my children blurt out what character the music represented at different times during the story. I allowed my children to play quietly while listening. Periodically, I would ask them questions to make sure that they were listening and, indeed, they would either tell me exactly what was going on, or urge me to be quiet so that they could hear. After the story was over, my asperger's syndrome son, Joshua, commented "I just love these CD's". I was truly amazed at the enthusiasm of all of my children.

But that's not all! After the main story, Bonnie Ward Simon gave an excellent and really exciting biography of the composer of Peter and the Wolf, Russian born Sergei Prokoliev. If you don't think that the biography of a composer could be interesting, you need to hear Ms. Simon! I, at least, was entranced.

The Simons know how to keep your attention. They intermingle different things into their CD's to make them fun. However, even though they are fun, they are also educational. The next section of the CD was titled "A Russian Peter" and had traditional Russian instruments playing the Peter theme. It was fascinating to hear the already familiar Peter music being played by the "Trio Voronezh" using Russian instruments. It gave all of us a wonderful in-site into the music of that country.

Think we're done yet? Think again! After we had an introduction to the music, heard the story, learned about the composer, and had a great time listening to a different version of the Peter theme, Stephen Simon gave us a little more detail about the music. He pointed out subtle changes that the composer put into the music. Then we listened to the whole story again, but this time with no narration, only the music. Now that the kids have learned so much, they were really ready to listen to the selection again to see if they could hear the musical intricacies.

Finally, we are invited to Grandfather's party where the Trio Voronezh plays another traditional Russian tune titled "Kalinka".


Wow! You would think that all of that must take hours to listen to and wonder how your children would ever pay attention to it all. Actually, the entire CD is only a little over 68 minutes. But, lest you think that the CD is the only exciting thing, think again. There is also a wonderful 24 page booklet filled with more information on the composer, Sergei Prokoliev, the Trio Voronezh, the narrator, Yadu, and the Simons themselves. AND (yes there is even more) there are puzzles, more information on Peter and the Wolf, pictures and information on the different instruments used to represent the characters, and more information on traditional Russian music and instruments.

Let me tell you, that these CD's are very much worth their price of $16.98. They are great way to introduce children of all age to classical music and great composers. Maestro Classics has other great CD's in their "Story's in Music" series. To hear samples of this CD and the other CD's or for more information on how to purchase them, you can click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above (you have got to hear the Elvis version of "O Juanita" from Juanita the Spanish Lobster). Also, if you want to know what the other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew think of this series, you can click here. Now, since these are great for all kids, not just homeschooled children, I'll close with...Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of "Peter and the Wolf" to use and review on my blog.




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Posted by tink38570 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 20 January 2011 12:09 PM CST
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Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Box Tops for Education
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

A couple of weeks ago I told you about  a choir who mingled with a crowd at a shopping mall and then, on cue, came together and began singing. It was called a "Random Act of Culture".

Well, I got an email today about another similar story that involves Box Tops for Education. We didn't have Box Tops for Education when I was in school, but I found out a lot about them when I was a substitute teacher for a few years. They are really big in schools these days and really do a lot of good. I've even heard that homeschool groups can be involved in the program.

So, how is this similar to "Random Acts of Culture". Well, I'll let the video explain itself, then afterward I'll post a little more about Box Tops for Education.



Box Tops for Education was created by General Mills in 1996 as an easy way to help make a difference for kids and schools. Since then, schools have earned more than $375 million through the program to help get the things they need-from books and school supplies to playground equipment and computers. Help make a difference in schools by clipping Box Tops from more than 240 brands, including Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Hamburger Helper, Kleenex, Ziploc, Hefty, Juicy Juice, Avery, Welch´s, Land O´Lakes and Brita. Find out how much your school has earned and learn other ways to earn cash for your school at www.btfe.com.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:25 PM CST
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